Bridging the elder communication gap


Each time I think of my mother in-law, Mary, in her assisted living facility, I feel sad. While today she is in a safe, nurturing environment and is surrounded by people she now calls her friends, I wish the journey we traveled to get her there hadn’t been one filled with anger, anxiety and frustration. Previously, Mary lived in an up-and-down duplex that her husband built at the New Jersey shore. After her husband died, Mary spent winters living with my husband and me in Westlake. For several years, in March, one of us would accompany her back to New Jersey, get her house set up and arrange for someone to give her rides and help with yardwork. All would be well for about a month after her return. We’d talk a few times a week and she’d be in good spirits. But not long after she would decline rapidly—her nutrition became poor, she would complain of loneliness, and she would stay in her bedroom all day watching television and drinking. At about month two we would call her and get...

My favorite life-enhancing gadgets for boomers

tray table

You know that stage of life between being a young, healthy, vibrant 20-something and needing medication reminders and Lifeline pendants? I think I, and many of my friends, are there. It’s that time of life when a simple gadget newly introduced into your life could make living just a little easier. We are still vital, competent people; we just appreciate a tiny bit of help now and then. Here’s my list of my favorite life-enhancing gadgets for boomers. The first item on my list might be a little embarrassing or at least tell a bit too much about my husbands’ and my lifestyle. I love my tray table. You know the white one where the two legs slip under your armchair? The one you can buy at those bed and bath stores for $19.99? Of course, fancier ones do exist. My husband and I eat our dinner in front of the television most nights (that’s the embarrassing part), and the tray just makes it so much easier to eat dinner, rather than balancing a plate on my lap. I use the tray table to...